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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Josh Hamilton’s story and the fall of the Texas Rangers - Grantland

It will be interesting to see what happens to Hamilton in free agency. Hopefully, he’ll be able to find a place to play that will provide him some peace rather a place that just provides him the biggest pile of cash he can get.

But Hamilton’s error — and the boos that rained down on him when Texas lost the wild-card playoff game to the Orioles two days later — perfectly captures the strangeness of his final days in Texas. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers don’t want the free agent back “even if he wants to play here for free.” This is a remarkable turnaround. When Hamilton arrived in 2007, he was a figure of Staubachian — read: noble, Christian, and muscularly Christian — character. He brought what he called “my story” — which became, in its retellings in documentaries and books and at places like First Baptist Dallas, The Story.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:11 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: josh hamilton, rangers

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   1. Bug Selig Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4261768)
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers don’t want the free agent back “even if he wants to play here for free.”


Wow
   2. The District Attorney Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4261792)
It seemed like the organization has been distancing themselves from him all year, and the fans certainly went along. So, yeah.
   3. TribeGuy Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4261797)
Just like any other recovering addict, Josh Hamilton will always be a recovering addict. It is a life-long fight and never stop being a daily struggle.

Unlike many addicts, Hamilton has found ways to cope, mainly through religion and the support of loved ones. Remarkably he has been able to achieve much of the potential he showed as a young prospect despite his addictions.

But he will always be "high-maintenance" and the Rangers or any other organization who wants to benefit from his baseball talents will have to take that into consideration. There is no neat, tidy Hollywood ending to the story. It's real life.
   4. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4261799)
I know I've personally become sick of the drama surrounding him, and I'm not even a Rangers fan. Seriously, if you can't even be around a few bottles of spraying champagne without having a meltdown, you need some serious counseling, and not the religious kind.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4261808)
Maybe I'm just cynical but I read this as an organization trying to drive the price down on a guy by poisoning the market against him. If the Rangers really hate him so much that they wouldn't let him play there for free they've had plenty of time to waive him. I'm not buying that things are this bad.

And the Taylor piece linked in the full article is just an absolute hatchet job. I don't know anything about Jean-Jacques Taylor but it was classic "player performs badly so let's question his heart" bullshit.
   6. The Good Face Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4261816)
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers don’t want the free agent back “even if he wants to play here for free.”


Wow


The Dallas sports media has been pushing a narrative that Hamilton lacks mental toughness/grit/focus/dedication, etc. I suppose it's possible that some people in the Rangers organization believe that. In an amusing reversal of typical baseball racial roles, Adrian Beltre has drawn a lot of praise this year for being a gritty gamer, whose toughness and indomitable will to win make him the heart of the team.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4261818)
Maybe I'm just cynical but I read this as an organization trying to drive the price down on a guy by poisoning the market against him.


Impossible, it's only the omnipotent media masterminds who run the Red Sox who can do this.
   8. Topher Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4261836)
Seriously, if you can't even be around a few bottles of spraying champagne without having a meltdown, you need some serious counseling, and not the religious kind.


Well you probably do need some serious counseling, but that just describes a typical recovery addict.

It's not that Hamilton can't be around bottles of spraying champagne. He probably can and it won't be a problem. But (1) imagine the stories from the media if he does partake in the celebrations and (2) even if the media isn't a factor, one of the keys to recovery is putting yourself in a position where you aren't even tempted. I'm guessing Hamilton thinks he could handle the celebration but it isn't worth the risk.

I love my wife and I believe I will always stay faithful to her. That said, I don't know how I would behave if Kate Upton were to give me a lap dance and let me know that it go further if I wanted. I'm probably best not putting myself in that position to be tempted. I'd like to say Kate took the news well when I told her it was a bad idea, but you could see in her eyes how disappointed she was.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4261874)
I don't know anything about Jean-Jacques Taylor

All you need to know about JJT is if Hamilton were black, the story would have been about how the Rangers organization cultivates the kind of racist fan base that would dare to boo a struggling misunderstood player like Hamilton.
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4261876)
I continue to be amazed by the relentless booing from the home crowd that Hamilton got in the coin-flip playoff game. No matter how many times he's struck out in the last three months, he is one of the players most associated with a personal narrative rather than just being known by his stats. And his narrative is a classic story of redemption, he fell victim to addiction and self-destructive behaviors, but he turned his life around through adamant adherence to conservative religious principles while surrounded by decadence and temptation on all sides. I would think Texas fans would be some of the most likely to show sympathy to a guy like that. Oh well.

I know that's basically what the article says, but it likewise seems baffled by the mood of the fans.
   11. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4261887)
It's not that Hamilton can't be around bottles of spraying champagne. He probably can and it won't be a problem. But (1) imagine the stories from the media if he does partake in the celebrations


I don't have to imagine them! Just take that article about Bryce Harper spraying someone with beer and swap out the names.
   12. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4261915)
I continue to be amazed by the relentless booing from the home crowd that Hamilton got in the coin-flip playoff game. No matter how many times he's struck out in the last three months, he is one of the players most associated with a personal narrative rather than just being known by his stats

And his stats are pretty darn good, too. It's sad, but I've always had a sense, in the stands at the Ballpark, that Hamilton is applauded on sufferance. Whenever he does the slightest thing negative on the field – fails to catch a ball he dives for, swings at strike three – there will be a wisecrack in the vicinity: what're you smoking today, Josh? or something. Texans can be pretty unforgiving of anyone who ever messes up in the slightest, no matter what they go on to do in life.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4261917)
I continue to be amazed by the relentless booing from the home crowd that Hamilton got in the coin-flip playoff game.


I wasn't really paying attention, so until very recently I was under the impression that Hamilton was beloved in Texas due to his very good season and the overall success of the team (and I figured his game 6 homerun from last year might afford him some goodwill from the clutch-worshippers). I still don't really understand - his performance down the stretch wasn't terrible; 7 homers in August, and 7 more in Sept/Oct. Is this a case of fans of a disappointing team (compared to expectations) blaming the star player?

Is he the new power-hitting mercurial outfielder in the Manny Ramirez mold?
   14. Toolsy McClutch Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4261919)
Yikes, that is one crap article.
   15. puck Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4261920)
Wow

I'll say. Here's the link from the Grantland article.

From the FWT article:

Then there's the ongoing roster decisions.

No, Josh Hamilton is no longer a decision.

Asked this week if there was any chance of re-signing Hamilton, one club official said, "not even if he wants to play here for free next season."
   16. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4261930)
Texans can be pretty unforgiving of anyone who ever messes up in the slightest, no matter what they go on to do in life.


They must really hate Jerry Jones.
   17. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4261935)
Is he the new power-hitting mercurial outfielder in the Manny Ramirez mold?

Hamilton, despite the one night he spends every winter licking whipped cream off a waitress, is about as steady and undemonstrative a guy as you could imagine, and a complete non-factor on the tabloidy weird-behavior circuit. It's not really the Manny profile. I think the booing is a sort of Evita reaction that fans have to his supposed superpowers: "You were supposed to have been immortal; that's all they wanted; not much to ask for."

I almost feel bad for not wanting the Rangers to sign Hamilton, either. I don't want them to sign him because he's 31 now, and I am increasingly fanatical about preferring ballplayers with a long future and considerable upside ‐ hence my feeling in the other thread that if they must trade an infielder, trade Kinsler and keep Andrus. Players who won't see 30 again will break your heart and your bank balance.
   18. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4261941)
They must really hate Jerry Jones

:-D If there is one thing that unites DFWers of all political and cultural groups, it is unlimited loathing of Jerry Jones.
   19. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4262022)
I continue to be amazed by the relentless booing from the home crowd that Hamilton got in the coin-flip playoff game. No matter how many times he's struck out in the last three months, he is one of the players most associated with a personal narrative rather than just being known by his stats. And his narrative is a classic story of redemption, he fell victim to addiction and self-destructive behaviors, but he turned his life around through adamant adherence to conservative religious principles while surrounded by decadence and temptation on all sides. I would think Texas fans would be some of the most likely to show sympathy to a guy like that. Oh well.

I'm happy that Hamilton overcame his demons and was able to belatedly realize his potential, but it seems like his "story of redemption" has been overblown by the media. The average fan on the street probably understands a key aspect of the Josh Hamilton story that the media almost always leaves unsaid: That without the millions he received from the Rays, Hamilton would probably be in prison and possibly would be dead.

While it's great that Hamilton has overcome his addictions and other demons, just about anyone who has overcome an addiction started out from a much worse position than Hamilton. All things considered, Hamilton probably has several teammates who overcame tougher personal odds to reach the big leagues, when you look at the backgrounds of some of the players from places like the D.R. and Venezuela.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4262030)
While it's great that Hamilton has overcome his addictions and other demons, just about anyone who has overcome an addiction started out from a much worse position than Hamilton. All things considered, Hamilton probably has several teammates who overcame tougher personal odds to reach the big leagues, when you look at the backgrounds of some of the players from places like the D.R. and Venezuela.

Are you serious? The guy was on a three year crack bender. He was a hard core addict.

That comeback is a lot tougher row to hoe than Keith Hernandez or Dave Parker giving up the recreational blow.
   21. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4262039)
Are you serious? The guy was on a three year crack bender. He was a hard core addict.

And if he didn't have the millions from the Rays, he'd probably be starring in the North Carolina Penal League — if, of course, he wasn't dead.
   22. Bob Tufts Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4262048)
Texans can be pretty unforgiving of anyone who ever messes up in the slightest, no matter what they go on to do in life.


The Bush family doesn't count?
   23. Tricky Dick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4262096)
ESPN's Jean-Jacques Taylor noted the other day, Hamilton "has abused that goodwill." Not by having a bad season: Hamilton hit 43 homers, just one fewer than Miguel Cabrera, and posted a .930 OPS. No, Hamilton abused it by hitting into a first-pitch double-play ball against the Orioles and looking at just eight pitches in four at-bats and, with a frequency that seemed to accelerate when the Rangers needed it least, behaving like a flake.


Hamilton's lack of patience at the plate makes him a "flake," or (even more unfairly) means that he doesn't care about the Rangers? Hamilton is a very talented hitter, but he has a major flaw as a hitter--his lack of patience and willingness to swing at first pitches. If he has a bad day at the plate, one would expect that it will be because of his flawed approach. It's not like this is an unusual problem--lots of hitters have poor patience, Hamilton is just one of the more productive hitters with this approach. It's not a character flaw.
   24. Moeball Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4262123)
Texans can be pretty unforgiving of anyone who ever messes up in the slightest, no matter what they go on to do in life.


Spent a couple weeks in San Antonio and parts thereabout a couple of years ago (mostly a work-related project and a little bit of visiting relatives). It seemed like I was there for a year.

Yes, some of the people are very nice and give you that "down home southern hospitality". Unfortunately, the vast majority of the ones I met can't spell and think they are supposed to give you that "down home southern hostility".

At any rate, there are a whole bunch of people there who think that because they read their bible and go to church on Sunday they can act like hateful jacka**es the rest of the week and they'll automatically be forgiven.

Maybe J.C. forgives easily but he's a better sport than I am. I was not impressed.

I am not in the least surprised that the local faithful have turned ugly on Josh Hamilton. It's what they do best.
   25. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4262226)
Spent a couple weeks in San Antonio and parts thereabout a couple of years ago (mostly a work-related project and a little bit of visiting relatives). It seemed like I was there for a year.

Booing Josh Hamilton is one thing, but booing Texas is beyond the pale.
   26. Spectral Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4262356)
Are you serious? The guy was on a three year crack bender. He was a hard core addict.


He probably has teammates with difficult circumstances that weren't entirely self imposed. I'd be more interested in hearing their stories than hearing about the "redemption" of someone whose main positive attribute is being so talented at baseball that they succeed despite acting like a terrible person for an extended period of time.
   27. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4262371)
The Bush family doesn't count?

My impression of Texan attitudes toward the Bushes is that they are all not really from here. (I'm not either, so I'm sensitive to such distinctions.) The Bushes went mightily in for their colleague Kay Hutchison in the last gubernatorial campaign, and she lost miserably. Their stock around here – except for the Houston neighborhood where 41 lives and the North Dallas neighborhood where people hung out signs in 2009 saying "Welcome Home George and Laura" – is not really high.

Hamilton abused it by hitting into a first-pitch double-play ball against the Orioles


Wasn't that the play where the Rangers scored their only run of the game? :)
   28. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4262441)
But he will always be "high-maintenance" ...... There is no neat, tidy Hollywood ending to the story. It's real life.

A perfect fit for the always stable and reliable Red Sox!
   29. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 09:10 PM (#4262561)

Booing Josh Hamilton is one thing, but booing Texas is beyond the pale.


It really is. Texas shouldn't be booed; Texas should be carpet-bombed.
   30. Moeball Posted: October 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4262727)
Booing Josh Hamilton is one thing, but booing Texas is beyond the pale.


I thank you, kindly, Joe - you just provided me with a nice meal tonight! I had a wager with a friend that you would be the very first one to come to the defense of the narrow-minded denizens of Texas and you came through with flying colors!
   31. Poster Nutbag Posted: October 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4262780)
Re Addiction/Hamilton:

There are problems, and there are self-inflicted problems. I have a lot less sympathy for those who fall in the "self-inflicted" category.

And I am not being heartless, I have lost more people in my life (Including Father, Sister, Best Friends, etc) to addictions then there are people actually left in my life. However, I have trouble gathering sympathy for those who cause their own pain, especially those with numerous opportunities to get help. Doubly so for an athlete/celebrity that has more opportunity than most to obtain quality help.

Sorry, but #### him.

(Especially if you can't celebrate with your teammates for fear of alcohol absorbing through the pores of your skin....)

-end rant-

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